Sean Davis

Dispatches From the Apocalypse: We Are the Darkest Timeline Versions of Ourselves (September 25, 2021)

(detail from artwork by Sean Davis)

In Sean Davis’s latest Dispatches From the Apocalypse, he explains how Johnny Depp, DaBaby, Nicki Minaj, and time-traveling road warriors have saved us all.

 

“A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”
—African Proverb

 

My name is Sean Davis, and I am documenting the collapse of human civilization that only a very few accept is happening. I am sending these dispatches into the future and, after watching the rampant canceling of celebrities recently, I figured out that these dispatches are going to a small group of post-apocalyptic survivors, dressed in rags and eating whatever canned goods they can scavenge, that found a time machine they can use only once, and after reading a recently discovered stack of People magazines this ragtag group of derelict road warriors came up with a plan to send a small team back on a desperate mission to save mankind. It all makes sense now. The pandemic, the wildland fires, the floods, the Trump Administration, Cancel Culture, all of this will end up saving us.

It all starts with Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp wants us to stand up against Cancel Culture and, by extension, ignore the culture where an over-indulged man-child lives a debaucherous life making millions acting in family films while doing illicit drugs and engaging in domestic violence. If I were to try this case as the judge of popular opinion, my verdict would be to punish him in a way to show him that this type of behavior isn’t tolerated and the punishment would make him learn a lesson, sincerely apologize, and then he can make another few Pirates of the Caribbean or Harry-Potter-without-Harry-Potter movies.

DaBaby is a part of our salvation too! You see, the clothing line “Boohoo” canceled rapper DaBaby after he told concertgoers in Miami to put their cell phone lights up over their heads unless they have HIV or are men who recently had sex with other men in a car in the parking lot (just writing that sentence shows that we are indeed at the endpoint in human history). He also told his audience that having HIV means you’ll be dead in two weeks. DaBaby (real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk) made an “Instagram apology” after a series of festivals removed him from the lineup, and said he had “no intentions [of] offending nobody.” Again, I would show him there are consequences for his actions and then let him apologize, adjust, and go on. Wouldn’t you? Who doesn’t look forward to more hip-hop masterpieces like “BOP” and “Ball If I Want To?”

Nicki Minaj faced backlash just because she used her Twitter platform with millions of followers to say that the COVID vaccine may be responsible for the extreme swelling of her cousin’s friend’s testicles. Well, people are also a bit mad at her for intimidating and trying to keep the woman her husband raped from talking about the incident. We can take both these things into account and find a fitting sentence and let her keep “Bang Bang”-ing.

 

(artwork by Sean Davis)

It occurred to me, as all these rich and famous stars shake their heads in wonder and indignation after finding out their actions have actual consequences, the human race is very much like these spoiled celebrities in the way that we are also completely astounded, astonished, and flabbergasted that there are ramifications to our bad actions. Isn’t that what the human race has done for thousands of years? Aren’t we the biggest celebrity? Sure, we’ve committed genocide, created nuclear bombs and then exploded two thousand and fifty-six of them since, but who cares? Yes, we’ve over industrialized the planet to the point where weather is currently trying to violently kill us, but, come on. Okay, fine, we created a social caste system where the richest one percent live in decadence and opulence to a ridiculous degree (and shoot giant penis-shaped rockets into the lower atmosphere) while billions live in poverty, so? We’re humans. We should be able to get away with it, right? You wouldn’t cancel the human race, would you?

I think you, road warrior people of the future, who I am addressing this dispatch to, saw this as well after reading all those moldy and rotting People magazines, and you decided to take this analogy to the next level. You watched us, made the connection, and realized that a celebrity has to hit rock bottom before they can start on their path for the redemptive story arc and their eventual cover story: see Nick Nolte, Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Rodriguez, Britney Spears, et cetera, and you decided to send a team back in time to make sure Trump won the presidency in 2016 in order to commit mankind to the darkest timeline so that humanity would hit rock bottom and we can begin our redemption tour. I get it now. It worked.

I was so upset and almost lost all hope when Trump won the presidency. I watched in horror as he pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, scrapped President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, deregulated methane emissions and all toxic air pollution, downsized two national monuments, dropped climate change altogether as a national security threat, gutted President Obama’s Pandemic-Preparedness Systems right before a global pandemic, started drilling in nature preserves, cut taxes for the rich and allowed billionaires like himself to pay less than the middle class, completely mismanaged Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico … and for the sake of the word count of this dispatch I’ll stop there, but I could have gone on for a very long time. For a complete list of atrocities, click here.

I would like to blame time travelers from the distant future for the mess we’re in, but the fact is we’ve made us all the darkest timeline versions of ourselves with our inability to realize that there are direct negative results to the Manifest Destiny attitude of the United States. Of course, H.L. Mencken was right when he said in 1920:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Thank you for helping us hit rock bottom with your time travel task force, but we would have done it to ourselves. I figure you just needed to make it happen faster, so we would snap out of it quicker and get started fixing shit.

Anyway, here we are, post-moron, and we’re making progress. The Hegelian pendulum is swinging back in the right direction. Trump made it his mission to repeal Obamacare—yes, again, during a global pandemic—but he messed that up so badly that the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever. His administration took away the federal aid to cost-sharing reduction payments and, as a result, created what is now called “Silver loading,” a method in which plans make up for the lack of reimbursement subsidy by increasing the cost of the premiums on the plans for which the CSR is offered. Bottom line: more people signed up and the ACA is secure.

Trump never believed that COVID-19 was a problem even when he had it. He said multiple times that it would “simply disappear.” Today, most rational-minded people are vaccinated, and while it is an immense and near unmeasurable tragedy that so many people are sick and dying, many of them are conspiracy believers whose suffering is self-inflicted and could have been avoided. We’re still living through this and will be for a while. The worst part is that the people who could have avoided getting sick are taking resources and healthcare specialists away from those who need it, but we’ll get to the other side. And, as a whole, we will be better prepared for the next pandemic.

 


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President Biden has already reversed just about every single one of Trump’s environmental disasters. Betsy Devos, Trump’s Education Secretary, created draconian policies that made it near impossible to get any student loans forgiven and, as a result, this administration has forgiven 9.5 billion dollars in predatory student loans. Because of the horribly inept and unqualified president, the US Government is now working to turn norms into laws. Trump broke rules we didn’t know we needed to make. For example, we now have to make a law citing that a president cannot fire members of his cabinet with a Tweet like he did to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of presidential norms that have to do with a president having global business dealings; not only did Trump refuse to divest himself from his businesses, he actively used his position to make money with his hotels and resorts, not to mention that a president is not supposed to influence federal criminal investigations, again, I’ll have to cut this short due to word count, but I could go on.

I’ll just end with saying “thank you.” Even though I should have seen this right away, I had no idea that actors, rappers, the entertainment industry, and celebrities would save us by complaining that they shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions. I should have known. It’s so obvious, in retrospect. Now that I do know, I am optimistic for a future, a path out of this apocalypse, and I look forward to our redemptive story arc. I have no doubt there will be some problems we’ll have to solve—and probably keep solving over and over again—but I look forward to all of us being on that People magazine cover one day.

 

Sean Davis

Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and a community leader in Northeast Portland, Oregon. His latest stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various magazines and media sources such as HUMAN the Movie, the international fashion magazine Flaunt, Forest Avenue's forthcoming anthology City of Weird, and much more.

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